How Secure Are Online Transactions?
Online shopping is an exciting activity. You can order items from the convenience of your home or office at any time of the day or the night. Online payment is also a simple affair as you use your Credit Card or net banking options. Products arrive at your doorstep within days. It cannot get better than this. However, online transactions have their moments of danger.
Credit Cards vs. Debit Cards
Which of the two methods is safer? Credit Cards are more reliable than debit cards. It is because Credit Cards offer more protection to the consumers than debit cards. When you use a Credit Card, the bank makes the payment on your behalf and recovers from you. In the case of a debit card, the bank debits your account instantly. You have a better chance of reversing an erroneous Credit Card transaction.
The following are some security measures you can take to protect your data while making online transactions.
- Use strong passwords with a combination of upper case, lower case, special characters, and numbers. Make it difficult for the hacker to guess your password.
- Never use the same username and passwords for all online accounts.
- Change your passwords frequently, at least once every quarter.
- Never share your passwords with anybody, online or offline.
- Beware of phishing websites. Access the ‘HTTPS’ instead of the ‘HTTP’ websites.
- As far as possible enter the bank web address by typing on the search tab. Never click on any link that takes you to the bank website directly. Note this fact when you Apply for Credit Cards Online.
- Never use passwords such as date of birth, spouse name, child’s name, phone number, and so on. Make it difficult for the hacker to crack your password.
· Use Virtual Keyboards
- Many banks have virtual keyboards on their official internet banking websites. Use these virtual keyboards instead of your computer or laptop keyboards.
- Banks have a second layer of security while making online payments.
- Banks have a grid card system. Every transaction requires you to enter a set of randomly chosen numbers from the grid. The banks ask for different grid combinations for each transaction.
- Some banks have the system of sending an OTP (One Time Password) for every transaction. These OTPs come to your registered mobile phone.
- Avail the SMS alert facility that banks provide nowadays. It will alert you in case of unauthorised use of your Credit Card.
· Online Shopping Tips
- Shop from secure e-commerce websites.
- Use reputed third-party payment service such as PayPal for making online transactions.
- Never use the autofill option on your computers while shopping online.
- Ensure you log out of the bank, Credit Card, and merchant websites after completing your transaction
- Some sites require you to answer security questions. As far as possible, use false information unrelated to your personal information. Remember your answers.
- Use only one card for making your online shopping transactions. It will limit your exposure to fraud and identity theft.
- Shop from authentic online retailers that have security measures like the VeriSign logo. You might have to click on the logo to verify the identity of the website before proceeding to do your online shopping.
· What Not to Do?
- Never indulge in online shopping using public Wi-Fi access. Similarly, never do your online shopping from internet cafes. Shop from the safety of your home in your trusted network.
- Avoid using shortcut methods while making online transactions. It does not take much time to enter your name and password.
- Be careful when you share information on your social media network. Never divulge personal information even to your friends. You never know what a hacker can do if they receive such vital information.
- Do not use older versions of the internet browser when the latest ones are available. The latest versions take care of various security aspects.
- Never use your personal email address for your banking transactions. Maintain a separate email for your online shopping and banking transactions.
· Worst Case Scenario
- In spite of all your precautions, you can still compromise your data. Hackers can crack your passwords and steal your identity. In case you suspect something is amiss, notify your Credit Card issuing bank immediately to block your card. Apply for a new card.
- Inform the credit bureaus as well and place a fraud alert on your credit report.
- Have a reliable anti-virus program in place. Run the spyware scan repeatedly on your computer.
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